Skyscanner Says Aussies Are Buying Flights On Price

In these times of outrageous airfares, high cost of living expenses, fuel prices and surging inflation, it’s hardly surprising that Australians are looking for cheaper flights. However, to find that out, travel platform Skyscanner conducted a national survey of 1,000 Australians in November.

Released today, Skyscanner’s Travel Trends 2023 report, aptly subtitled the year of price-driven decisions, highlights that price will dictate travel choices more than ever. According to Skyscanner, 97% of Australians plan to take at least one overseas trip next year, and 41% say they will spend more on travel than they did this year.


Cheap fares are hard to find in OZ


Photo: Qantas

International and domestic airfares have skyrocketed in Australia over recent months, in some cases doubling between April and November. This week the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warned airlines not to restrict capacity to keep fares high, a warning essentially aimed at Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia. The ACCC report said that the average revenue per passenger (an indication of average airfares across all fare types) was 27% higher in October 2022 than in October 2019.

On the price issue, 43% responded that the cost of flights is the most important factor when planning their holiday. The COVID-era saw many travelers badly affected by flight cancelation and refund policies, and this is reflected in Skyscanner’s survey. Four out of ten people said they are willing to pay more for travel insurance and are reconsidering where they spend their holidays to ensure they get what they paid for. Skyscanner Aussie Travel Expert Jarrod Kris said:

“Aussies have become savvier to the value of post-pandemic time away. The squeeze on personal spending has shown that while consumers are committed to travel, they are increasingly shopping around and placing more value on extras such as insurance.”

Despite the ongoing financial pressures, 74% of respondents are planning bigger holidays than last year, and to fund that, they (33%) are choosing destinations where their dollar goes further. Destinations such as Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, which are already popular with Australians, fit that bill and rank highly on Skyscanner’s 2023 list of the cheapest international destinations. Perhaps as a result of the high proportion of spending on airfares, 27% will spend less at their destination, and another 26% will cut back on accommodation costs.

No reasons are needed for holidays

Virgin Australia 737-800 Jet Taking Off From Gold Coast Airport (1)

Photo: Queensland Airports Limited

With a diverse population and large ex-pat community, visiting friends and family accounts for half of overseas travel from Australia. The other significant motivators for international travel include spending time on a beach (45%) and visiting popular cities (31%).

One in four Australians is heading for a holiday focused on relaxation, while 44% of solo travelers will be looking after their wellness and mental health. With border restrictions gone and after three years of some of the toughest lockdowns in the world, there are plenty of reasons for Australians to chase a relaxing time in 2023.

One finding seems like an outlier, and that’s what travelers feel about sustainability and travel. According to the Skyscanner research, 33% of Australians said they would give up convenience and comforts, including their choice of route, destination preferences or class of travel, to “accommodate for a more sustainable travel option.” This is surprising because much of international travel out of Australia is medium to long-haul, yet the take-up of offset credits is low, suggesting that sustainability is not top of mind for air travelers.

While finances are tight, Australians are heading out in large numbers, with Qantas alone expecting to carry more than 8 million passengers over the summer holiday period.

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